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Smokehowze last won the day on September 5 2017

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About Smokehowze

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    North Georgia
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    Kamado Joe

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  1. Smokehowze

    Homemade Meat Press Molds for Deli Loaves (aka Ham Press)

    If you don't mind a few more potential voids in the finished product, use tall tapered mason jars and pack it well by hand and skip the pressure forming of the meat. I have done this in the past and it works. Final result might not hold together quite as well for slicing but still makes 'good eats' food. The mason jars seal nice for the sous vide and are easy to open to probe for internal temps. Also the smaller diameter jars take a lot less time in the bath to cook. The large rectangular larger shapes can take 6 - 7 hours and the round one 3 - 5 or so if I recall.
  2. Homemade Meat Press Molds for Deli Loaves (aka Ham Press) Background I have decided to shift some of my sausage making over to deli style meats and cold cuts for a number of reasons – I like them, they are getting expensive and by and large they are not the quality I am preferring (even on high end name brand), I am seeking lower salt and fat versions, I can make them my way --- and the family likes them. Plus it’s quite interesting and good eats, too. Deli type meats that are not emulsified into a paste and cooked in a loaf form (think bologna) are those that are called reformed meats also knows as “formed and pressed” meats and are generally a ham, chicken, or turkey loaf or round – or even the common SPAM product. Beef, bologna, & ham.... One piece of equipment that is necessary for producing the “formed and pressed” meats is the “ham press”. These meat products are made from pieces of well-trimmed meat bonded by the proteins in the meat and are meant to act and taste like the natural product but in a more sliceable and user useful sandwich style slice. One such example is a “chicken breast”. To make these, the meat (such as boneless skinless chicken breast, turkey, pork loin, lean beef, etc.) is cut into roughly 1 inch cubes, seasoned and “tumbled” with a liquid addition until the meat proteins exude from the meat. The resulting mix is placed (packed) in what is generically called a “ham mold” or “ham press” which has a spring loaded pressure arrangement that compresses the meat mixture during a refrigerator curing/setting up time. This is followed by a cooking session with the meat still in the press – usually by poaching or equivalent means. The final product is cooled, removed from the mold and available for slicing. One thing about this type of meat processing is that it does not require a grinder, uses ordinary ingredients, is reasonably quick to prepare, can be done with a sous vide setup or even just a pot of poaching water on the stove (175 - 180 degrees F for poaching - cook meat to 165 to 180 internal depending on the meat) and gives great results. I have even done baked in the oven versions of some of the loaves. Some good info found here https://www.meatsandsausages.com/hams-other-meats/formed THE SMOKEHOWZE APPROACH ON HOMEMADE HAM PRESS MOLDS (see photos at end of post) True commercial ham press molds are ridiculously expensive! So the trick is to build one or an equivalent. Web search shows some information but perhaps not as much as one would prefer to have. Thus, I set out to come up with a practical approach using readily available off the shelf items to making a “ham press” using available items that provide cooking flexibility not only in a poaching environment but also in an oven cooking mode. I wanted to be able to make a square shaped loaf as well as round loaves. Here is my solution for different sizes (capacities) and shapes for a “ham press”. Square shape: (~ 3 qt) roughly 4 3/4 x 5 inches about 4 lbs meat capacity Round Shape: (~ 2 qt) roughly 4 3/4 inch diameter about 3 lbs meat capacity Round Shape: (~ 1.5 qt) roughly 4 1/8 inch diameter about 2 lbs meat capacity NOTE: SEE THIS ATTACHED PDF DOCUMENT FOR A TABLE OF MY MEASUREMENTS & EMPIRICAL DETAILED DATA & SPECIFICATIONS OF THE VARIOUS CONTAINERS USED AS MEAT PRESS FORMS 0-SMOKEHOWZE HAM PRESS CAPACITIES (V3 4-1-18).pdf THE CONTAINERS The best containers are those that permit cooking in a poaching bath (such as sous vide) and even able to be used in the oven. They should also mechanically allow the cooked meat product to be easily removed form the form. Hotel pans and bain marie items meet these criteria and are readily available and inexpensive. Having many other applications in food preparation, serving and storage, the small investment goes beyond just this use as a meat form/press. 1/6 SIZE RECTANGULAR HOTEL PAN (6 inch deep - 2.7 qts) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 4070669 Choice 1/6 Size Standard Weight Anti-Jam Stainless Steel Steam Table /Hotel Pan - 6" Deep $4.49 2.0 QUART ROUND BAIN MARIE (6.5 inch deep) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 92278720 2 Qt. Bain Marie Pot $3.4 1.5 QUART ROUND BAIN MARIE (5.75 inch deep) https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ Item # 92278710 1.5 Qt. Bain Marie Pot $3.29 I got these containers from https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ along with other items on my order to optimize my shipping cost across the order. I provide the specific info to give you an appreciation of the items, should you care to use the information as a reference point. The capacities of these containers at various depths of fill both in volume and meat weight is given in the tables I included. This was determined by a combination of measurement and empirical results since these containers all have a slight taper from top to bottom. I use my sous vide setup for cooking the meats and therefore I do not fill the mold all the way up to the top with the meat. I like to leave at least a 1” freeboard so the sous vide water can come above the meat level to cook the meat but not overflow into the container. Weights for Compressing the Meat The simplest solution is to use commercial exercise equipment weight plates sized to fit into the containers. This is a simple solution which took considerable effort in searching for the right pieces and parts that fit. Other weight solutions could also work depending on what you have – even using stone or a piece of cast concrete but those generally do not have the same density to form factor relationship like the iron weight plates. Besides, the plates are relatively cheap and will go in an oven for high heat cooking when the molds are used for other types of meat products where poaching is not the preferred cooking method. After much research, as well as a good deal of trial and error, I finally found something that worked quite well. I ended up buying various weights from different sources to experiment. BTW, the manufacturer’s stated dimensions on such weight plates are often not precise enough to determine without having one in hand if such will fit in the molds – thus the reason I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error. Here is what I found that worked (these weight plates are 3.75 inches OD and fit all the containers above) CAP Barbell 1-Inch Standard Cast Iron (Round) Weight Plate, Manufacture # RP-001.25 Weight: 1.25 lbs Walmart Item #: 551214846 Price $1.50 each The best source of these plates that I found (especially because of the free shipping to the store) is Walmart. I purchased 8 of these plates to permit multiple molds being used at the same time. I have found that 2 or 3 plates on a mold seems to work and 3 plates is my current go to weight on the 1/6 hotel pan. Presser Plate To permit the weight plates to exert a uniform force on the meat, you need a presser plate to sit the weights on. For the 1/6 hotel pan, a perforated bottom or draining pan spacer plate works acceptably. It does not fit quite as close as one might prefer to the sides but its readily available and the weights sit in the plate turned upside down (flanges up) if you bend the flanges out just a bit along their length with pliers. An easy thing to do. The spacer plate also does double duty for other uses of the hotel pan when a draining spacer plate is useful. Alternatively, you could cut a suitable presser plate out of metal or wood. I wanted metal so that the pan could also be used in the oven. Here is the plate for reference: 1/6 Size Stainless Steel Steam Table / Hotel Pan False Bottom Webstaurantstore Item # 4070600 $1.59 For the round bain maries you can find useful ready to use presser plates by scavenging metal or even plastic tops off of various containers. You can get real close to perfect by hunting around. Or make some out of wood or metal. A poly type cutting board makes a great items to cut pieces from. I did just that with one that I retired from kitchen service Drill a suitably sized hole in the center of the presser plate if it is one solid piece aligned with the hole in the center of the weights as a place to insert your cooking thermometer into the central core of the meat block. Keeping in mind we are in water bath at 185 degrees or less when you hunt for materials, here are some examples of what works (and I have used). You will see that use of a cooking bag for the food isolates the food from the weights and the presser plate. I also wrap my weight stack in plastic wrap as I found that to be convenient in handling the stack. 4 in OD is perfect for the 1.5 Qt bain marie - this is the size of the plastic top off a sour cream container or equivalent 4 5/8 OD works well in the 2.0 Qt bain marie – a CD or DVD is 4.72 inches and will work in a pinch - but probably not an ideal choice or one I would necessarily recommend! If you happen to use a CD as a test you might want to put it in a ziplock bag because it seems to give off an odor when heated in the 180 degree atmosphere. Since the meat is enclosed in the cooking bag (see next section) this is not an issue in a practical sense. Use a Cooking Bag It is recommended (more like a necessity) for ease of removal of the meat from the containers after cooking to use a “cooking bag” in the mold as a liner. Since I already had an order in play, I bought these bags for this purpose as well as other cooking uses. They will fit the 1/6 hotel pan and the others – just a bit large. Otherwise just get suitable oven cooking bags at your local grocery. 4 Qt. Round PTL Pan Liner - 200/Case Webstaurantstore Item # 572PTL1215 $19.49 Summary So now you hopefully have a more comprehensive view on making a “ham press” mold. Yes, you can buy round ones on Amazon or E-bay, such as that from Madax Ham Maker. Based on the video they seem to work, but I did not care for the capacity (2 lbs), and I figured I could put together a solution that was higher capacity, multi-purpose and cheaper, too. Below are some pictures of the apparatus piece parts and also the hotel pan in use and the results from making a delicious formed chicken breast. That and other recipes will be the topic of separate posts. I bought 2 of each of the sizes, the false bottoms and the weights for just under $40 not counting the cooking bag liners or apportioned shipping costs. And with these items I have flexibility to use them for other cooking related tasks. I also bought the hotel pan and bain marie solid metal covers as they are reasonably cheap and handy. For the hotel pans using the metal covers, Volrath makes silicon sealing “steam table pan bands” (webstaurantstore - Items # 922N0006B or 922N0006G) that provide a liquid tight leak proof seal. They are however, not cheap ($6.89 ea). I got a couple of those for grins for other applications of the 1/6 pan and they work as advertised – and have been quite useful. Here are some photos of the apparatus and some results. Some of the Equipment A Chicken Breast Loaf Kneading the Chicken Cubes in the Mixer (about 10 minutes) Packed in the Press in Cooking Bag. Ensure tight pack and no air pockets! The Presser Plate In the Sous Vise bath with weights and Thermo probe Some of the results .. I plan post some recipes one these and other cooks... Beef Loaf (using trimmed chuck, salt, pepper, touch of smoke seasoning , Cure #1) Ham Loaf (using trimmed pork butt, salt, pepper, touch of smoke seasoning, Cure #1) A Pork Garlic Bologna (this was actually an emulsion meat mix in the food processor but used the round form instead of a casing) Son and I did this one on a whim one night... A final note - alternative approach using springs The weight approach is simple and works well. I wanted to also use a spring design and have an increased pressure on the meat. I have worked out a couple of approaches to do it with springs using the same pans. Some fabrication is required. With the spring approach I can get 10 plus pounds of pressing force. However, in the reality of things, the weight approach is simpler and more than adequate, so I will not include the spring versions in this write-up. Just want to let you know that is an alternative if you want to jump into a mechanical challenge project!.
  3. Smokehowze

    Gonna Cure a Fresh Ham

    Yes, you could do that and the results would be close for a typical ratios of meat and the amount of water to cover. However, the base number must be that of the net meat weight = (total meat less [estimated] bone weight) + water weight. The equilibrium cure process starts with a more concentrated "pickling" solution that you mix because the solution additives are figured on the total water in the equilibrium system which is the cover water plus the approximately 65 - 70 % water in the meat. When equilibrium is reached the total solution arrives (after sufficient time) at the final desired concentrations for both the solution now inside the meat and that still on the outside. There is an exchange outside to inside and vice versa. Those factors you indicated in your post match up to the following: Need to use the net weight of the meat (total meat weight less estimated bone weight) + weight of the water (enough to cover the meat adequately) Thus for each 1 per LB of (net meat+water) 1 gram cure #1 is equivalent to 140 ppm nitrite (which is about mid-range) 6 grams salt per gram of cure based on (meat + water) is equivalent to 2% salt brine 3 grams sugar per gram of cure based on (meat + water) is equivalent to 1% sugar. Note 1: USDA immersion curing of meat and poultry (meat not intended to be traditional bacon) the nitrite range is minimum 120 ppm to maximum 200 ppm. Bacon has a lower max limit due to typical high heat cooking . Reference UDSA 7620-3 PROCESSING INSPECTORS' CALCULATIONS HANDBOOK Revised 1995. Note 2: I prefer to use about 150 -155 PPM in my cures as it tends to ensure a good cure flavor & color in the meat. Here are example calculations for comparison. Example (using specific calculations (USDA Pg 22 Method 2) where the total pickle weight is used which is the meat+water+salt+sugar weights in this case of no other additives) here are the numbers Given: 10 lbs net 'green' meat block weight 128 oz water to cover (1 gallon = 8.35 lbs) 140 ppm nitrite level using Cure #1 2% salt desired 1 % sugar desired Calculations: 10 lbs net meat weight + 128 oz water + salt + sugar = 8524 grams = 18.77 lbs Cure #1 @140 ppm = 19.1 grams Added Salt @ 2 % brine = 117 grams (not counting the 17 grams salt in the cure) Added Sugar @ 1% = 67 grams Note 3: If one desired a 155 ppm nitrite level the amount of Cure # 1 in this example would be 21.1 grams. By way of comparison, USING THE FACTORS PROPOSED in the discussion above we get for 10 lbs net meat +8.35 lbs water = 18.35 lbs): 18.35 grams Cure #1 ( 1 gram/lb of net meat + water weight) 110 grams salt ( 6 grams/lb of net meat + water weight) 55 grams sugar ( 3 grams/lb of net meat + water weight) The critical factor is the PPM on nitrite. The problem with simple rules of thumb is that people don't necessarily perceive the underlying critical science/safety aspects such as for the PPM and often will change the numbers just because. So if you state this as a simple set of factors it must be made clear that the factor for the Cure #1 is chosen to be in the safe range and should not be amended without some level of knowledge. Adjustments of salt and sugar in this case affect taste. Adjustments on Cure #1 can affect safety. However, the factor used sets the PPM of nitrite somewhat below mid-range which provides a certain safety margin. It is however, a bit low for attaining the more typical 150-155 ppm level of nitrite needed for good color and flavor. For reference , the 200 ppm level would equate to 1.4 grams Cure #1 per 1 lb net meat+water weight. There are, as as been noted in this thread, some calculators on the web that suffice for figuring the Cure #1 level (and some also do the salt and sugar) and do it with the underlying formulas (such as USDA) and will more closely match the amount of Cure #1 to the desired results. I would suggest the calculators referenced in this thread be used for the Cure #1 for best taste and color results in the cured meat as well as for the safety aspects. As noted, 150 -155 ppm tends to be a good value that balances all the objectives. But 135 -140 ppm can also be workable which is what the proposed simple factor gives. One additional note is that the salt and sugar levels might be somewhat low at 2% and 1 % respectively. Up to 4% salt and up to 4% - 5% sugar is used quite a bit. It's a matter of the taste profile one is looking for.
  4. Smokehowze

    Gonna Cure a Fresh Ham

    If you add the water weight to the meat weight that caculator is OK because it reflects the total solution of all the water and the meat and the other additions. He even says that in his text write up. It tracks with my personal spreadsheet based on US FSIS meat inspectors calculation handbook. If you inject 10 % by weight of the solution in the meat with a reasonable uniform distribution you can probably get by with 14 days in immersion especially if it not a huge ham. It may be tempting to do more but you will end up with soggy meat. I typically figure about 10 days per inch ( which seems to a rule of thumb number) with no injection on my pork bellies. Additional note: With skin on you need to inject and the cure rate may be slower than 14 days. Some further internet research may be needed. Everything I have done has been skin off and just meat or meat with a heavy fat layer on one side. Temperature matters 38 degrees for typical fridge is about perfect . Too cold and the cure rate slows way down. Also you should allow at least a day or day and a half or maybe two in fridge uncovered out of solution and rinsed for equalization.
  5. Smokehowze

    Venison Summer Sausage

    Venison makes good summer sausage. And snack sticks...they won’t last long once folks get eyeballs on them and smell the aroma.
  6. Smokehowze

    Gonna Cure a Fresh Ham

    John I am in Japan and do not have my info database handy as it is on computer at home. Let me pull some data for you - see below. . I may see if my son can access my spreadsheet and get the calculations done. Key info needed: What is the weight of the ham and approx max thickness to bone and an average thickness. ? And how much brine solution will take to full immerse it? And what % salt and sugar do you want? Those are the critical numbers to calculate the right Cure #1, salt and any sugar. 156 ppm for the cure is a good value. It may take, even with injection which is a key thing to do, two weeks at least. You would inject the brine solution which starts out more concentrated and eventually the non brine water in meat and the cure solution both injected and external exchange with the meat water and each other and attain equilibrium to the final percentages. Thickness drives the time it takes for the exchange and equilibrium. That is why injection helps as it is inside out and outside in working together. You have the right idea on the calculations concept but numbers may be off. The Digging Dog Farms calculator will get you close. Just use total meat and water weight in the caculator if doing equilibrium. Here is link https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/universal-cure-calculator.124590/
  7. Smokehowze

    Fish Friday Challenge

    Great cook as usual!
  8. To paraphrase the famous movie line ...I think you’re gonna need a bigger grill. That is a significant and wide ranging seafood cook. I will have one of each.
  9. I have a take out container ready to be filled. Looks delicious. I can even smell the bread.
  10. That be some good cooking!
  11. Thanks. It was well worth the time investment. And overall an inexpensive set of ingredients. Probably less than $30, not counting zee biere. Hopefully the more detailed post will encourage folks in making their own. Using the Kamado imparts that outdoor cooking fire element in a subtle but noticed way that you cannot get in a regular oven
  12. Octoberfest Feast: Schweinshaxe, Rotkohl, & Spaetzle + Soft Pretzel Bonus It was time to do an Octoberfest meal even though the weather here in North Georgia is not yet cooperating with fall like temperatures. This meal has a lot of moving parts on the execution and is a great opportunity for team cooking and lends itself to several different German beers – as you will see. The result as you see was graded as 100 % perfection! The final beer selection for the main meal was a Hacker Pschorr – Original Octoberfest Amber Marzen. A picture definition of Schweinshaxe. That skin is so good. And a nice soft pretzel to enjoy. Time to cook So let’s get on with it - as this meal will take about 5 hours plus of preparation, cooking, an occasional detour for having a beer and perhaps even a pre-meal snack. It is a truly a two person cook for best efficiency unless several of the meal elements (pretzels and cabbage) are prepared ahead of time. My favorite saying, with voice of experience to back it up, is that a person cannot cook outside and inside at the same time and not have some element of the cook lack the proper attention. My son and I teamed up for this cook and just let the division of work fall out on its own as we progressed. The whole family cooks together enough that we have a really great kitchen dynamic together. Wife and daughter got to sit this one out. In case you are interested, the interleaved 5 hour time flow works about like this: Take a pre-shift “union break” – have a beer Prepare and get hocks on the boil. Get Big Joe set up for indirect cooking and stabilized at 375 degrees (Of course at this point, I realized I needed to do an ash clean out for this longer higher heat roasting) Prepare pretzel dough and put to rise Take another “union break” – have another beer Prepare red cabbage and get it cooking Remove boiled hocks, do final roasting prep and get cooking on Kamado When dough is ready, make pretzels and put to the bake When pretzels are ready to serve, have a pre-meal appetizer Take another “union break” Make the gravy from the pork stock About 30 minutes before the meat is anticipated to be ready, prepare the spaetzle batter When meat is removed and resting, boil the spaetzle, then do the final pan sauté in butter THEN EAT!!!! The Schweinshaxe This task I adopted in the cook. My biggest pressure challenge to myself was to get the skin perfectly cooked. I hit it 100%. Got these nice knuckles at a local Korean/Asian market. The 4 hocks were just over 12 pounds and were $1.19 a pound. They looked really nice - what a deal! Without starting a religious, regional, or cultural war, I choose the boil, then roast method. I like the ability to impart flavor in the meat with the boil stage. As a starting point this recipe is a good one: https://craftbeering.com/schweinshaxe-bavarian-roasted-pork-knuckle-recipe/ FYI. Instead of placing the aromatics in cheesecloth, I like to put them in a tea ball. In addition to the seasonings indicated in the recipe, we added some dried thyme and juniper berries. First beer up in the rotation both for the cooking pot and cooks treat was a Paulaner Hefe-Weizne. One bottle went in the boiling pot. Since these were larger hocks and fight tightly in the pot (I thought I was going to need my outdoor cooking pot but managed to get them into my large Magnalite) they were boiled for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Then removed and cooled on a sheet pan. After scoring the fat with my Japanese deba, I used a medium sprinkling of Koscher salt on the skin to aid initial drying and crisping on the Kamado. It will get rinsed off a bit with the basting anyway. Reserve the stock for basting and gravy making. Lets's get roasting. I treat the pork interior meat cook like a pulled pork. Probe until tender which is right around the 200 degree mark (give or take). The skin should be hitting the perfect crisping and cracklin texture at about the same time. The cracklin skin will have a sharp click sound when tapped with the tongs as opposed to a dull sound on softer not yet well crisped skin. Move the hocks around in the grill and rotate inside to outside surfaces to get even cooking on skin. I basted the hocks about three times during the cook with the pork stock. After I pulled the smaller ones, I need a bit more skin cook crisping time on the larger ones, so I opened the vent to get more hot air flowing and monitored the temp which eventually climbed to about 425 before I removed the meat. About 5-8 minutes after opening the vents was enough to finalize the skin. I used no flavoring wood – just let the KJ charcoal do its thing. In this case, they roasted about 1H40 minutes for the smaller ones and 1H50 or so for the larger. Don’t forget to make the gravy later from the pork stock. The Soft Bavarian Pretzel Bonus Son is the self-proclaimed baker. So he adopted this task. He had not done pretzels before so he said his challenge was to get them just right in texture and baking. He felt at the end he hit his challenge 100% also. All agreed. What would Octoberfest be without good soft pretzels. This is the bonus in the cook. Take a few minutes and make these pretzels. Here is the recipe we selected: https://whatshouldimakefor.com/bavarian-soft-pretzels/ When they are baked and ready to eat later in the cook they fill a nice niche as an appetizer. The pretzel course demanded a Warsteiner Dunkel as the beer selection. The Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage) This was a joint task. This red cabbage, onion, and apple dish to me is a wonderful accompaniment with the pork. Here is a good recipe. Just follow it and you are good to go: https://www.quick-german-recipes.com/recipe-for-red-cabbage.html The cabbage needs an hour or so to cook, thus now is a good time to get it underway. Not much else to say other that don't let it burn in the pot as the liquid disappears.. The Spaetzle I adopted the spaetzle task, but it was easy and less messy in the actual boiling portion with my son loading the batter into the cup on the spätzle maker. This is another excellent traditional accompaniment. Easy to make. Use this recipe https://thestayathomechef.com/grannys-german-spaetzle/ As I had some really jumbo farm-fresh eggs from my neighbor’s relatives, I just used 4 eggs and added a bit more milk. I also double the fine minced parsley. Don’t forget to heavily salt the water. For a homemade spaetzle press, my son suggested the flat cheese grater which we used smooth side up. Perfect hole size and spacing. Needing a ‘cup’ for the batter, I cut a 2 ¾ in long piece of 2 inch diameter PVC pipe. Works quite well. Fill the cup and away you go. When the spaetzle batches are all boiled, rinse and drain. Then sauté in a frying pan in butter with a bit of salt and pepper. Serve with the gravy. Ready to Serve. Happy Octoberfest! Time to enjoy a great family meal. Don't worry, I expect there will (hopefully) be some leftovers.
  13. Smokehowze

    Questions about B & B Lump!

    I have used the Oak and Hickory variants for years. I get mine at Academy. I like the B&B... to me its good stuff. I keep it and the KJ lump in my stock pile.
  14. Smokehowze

    brisket is challenging.

    I did a 13 lb or so packer brisket no injection at 250 to 275 degrees and it surprisingly only took 6 1/2 hours for the flat to get to tender stage at 205 and about 7 hours for the point. At 180 internal, it was already through the (apparently non) stall and I did a butcher paper wrap at that stage just to keep it moist without killing the bark until it hit the tender probing at about 203 to 205. I was expecting it to take 10 or 11 hours. So with brisket anything is possible. Just let the meat tell you when it is ready and happy. I will say, when it is done and if it is too soon for your schedule, wrap it tightly in a couple of layers of foil (in my case over the butcher paper), then wrap that in a towel and put in ice chest. It will remain hot for hours - which is exactly what I did with this brisket. I would rather done too soon and in the ice chest than not done when you need it to be done for a specific planned meal time.
  15. How about warm it and the inside of the kamado up with a bit of charcoal (like a some briquettes lit in a chimney) - realizing you need them lit and burning good cuz lower vent is closed. The when warmed up well (or even hot) lightly (I said lightly/gently) tap with a non -metal mallet on the face of the metal banding and door and then also work on the horizontal sliding action of door in a gentle tapping. This may break loose the rust locking it up in its tracks. Also, you could after it is heated up , apply an ice pack to the door and area immediately around it. .And then heat/cold shock it several times along with gently tapping. Not seeing it in person i would hesitate to recommend using a propane torch to heat it but that is your call. Or maybe an industrial hot air heat gun would be good to use if you have one.